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San Andreas: It’s the end of the world and The Rock feels fine

May 31, 2015

San Adreas movie poster

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San Andreas a fantastic popcorn movie that understands what a summer film should be. It doesn’t preach, features nice characters and smooshes many people with debris. It is a 114 minute roller coaster that is smart about being dumb and doesn’t care a bit about actual earthquake logistics. I left the theater with a smile on my face and can’t wait to watch it again when it eventually gets played ad nauseam on HBO, FX and USA. It is a perfect cable film that knows what people want and attempts to make the proceedings likable.

For some reason I knew I would like this film. I figured it would be 90 minutes of Dwayne Johnson punching an earthquake in the face. However, it focuses on several stories involving smart people trying not to die. We get Johnson and Carla Gugino escaping one car/plane/helicopter/boat crash after another while rekindling their love affair (they are separated of course) and rescuing their daughter in San Francisco. We get a subplot about their teenage (?) daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario…Thankfully away from Woody Harrelson) and two Brits trying to find high ground in San Francisco. Then we get a third subplot involving Paul Giamatti and his crew trying to save lives via early warning techniques and computer hacking. Everybody is pretty level-headed and you like all of them.

San Andreas Alexandra Daddario

We’re gonna need a bigger building

The computer effects are suitable and allow San Andreas to feel like a roller coaster ride on red bull. It isn’t as preachy or bloated as 2012 or Day After Tomorrow. It is 114 minutes of roller coaster. It has a cheeky sense of humor that starts from the opening frame and goes till the end. An instance of the cheekiness is the opening rescue sequence. We get a pretty blond teenager driving on a windy road while searching in her bag and texting. Just when you think she will crash she doesn’t and eventually gets walloped by rocks knocked loose by a tremor. Her car falls a ridiculous distance and she is eventually saved by The Rock. San Andreas goes out of its way to show love to the Los Angeles Fire Department and kill people in creative ways.

Another thing I love about San Andreas is that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. People are always on the top of buildings when the quakes hit or the roads are always out in key moments. Just when you think you are going to survive a massive tsunami you have to deal with a floating freighter that is loaded with falling storage containers. There is a moment when a jerky Kyle Minogue thinks she is opening a door to a staircase but meets her 10-story demise when the staircase has been demolished. This adherence to terrible situations constantly constantly give us some glorious moments involving tandem skydiving, wet t-shirts and strategic fault lines.

San Adreas earthquake

I was able to take my brain out and enjoy the fun because director Brad Peyton didn’t look down on his audience. He knows what we want (jerks getting crunched by shipping containers) and delivers with aplomb. The script by Carlton Cuse does a solid job of delivering an A-B-C scenario and not getting the teenage daughter kidnapped or stuck in a tiger cage. Actually, Daddario is more than just a tight-fitting tank top. She is resourceful, kind and somehow a normal product of a divorced family who split apart due to the death of a child.

San Andreas might be loaded with unnecessary dramatics involving child death via white water rafting but they never bothered me. I had more of an issue with The Rock playing an everyday man who never seems to work out. The guy probably needs to eat three pounds of chicken an hour and watching him act dramatically still sorta hurts the soul. Johnson is best in films like The Rundown, The Other Guys, Get Smart, Hercules and Fast Five where his size and comedic chops get used to their full extent. You never feel like The Rock is in danger because in San Andreas the guy literally flies every plane known to man, hot wires cars, saves lives, punches people out and puts the earthquake in a headlock (that last part isn’t true). If this Other Guy’s scene below happened in San Andreas he would have lived.

aim for the bushes

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San Andreas is a fantastic popcorn flick that knows exactly what it is. It doesn’t waste time on global warming or actual earthquake facts. It allows The Rock to be the greatest dad ever and makes all the characters likable. I totally recommend it and if you are able to take your brain out and enjoy I think you will have a blast.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. John Leavengood permalink
    June 1, 2015 2:37 pm

    I don’t know why Johnson didn’t just push the tectonic plate back into place.

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